the Ice Age, circa January 2018, we worried about our outdoor cat
Bernard. In freezing weather, especially when the temp plunges to
17 degrees, outdoor cats - no matter how strong and independent they
think they are -- need to come inside.
We couldn't find Bernard, also known as the Cross-Eyed Lion. (His
beautiful blue eyes are crossed.)
We wondered if that was why his former owner, a rancher, gave him
to the SPCA where we adopted him. Home on the range, Bernard may have
had a problem discerning what was what - like he thought maybe a rattlesnake
was a curled-up water hose or a raccoon was a rat or something.
Peeping through the blinds during the coldest of the cold days, we
couldn't see any of Bernard's gang either. He runs around with two
other cats, Frank and Gordon. Imagining they are feline characters
from "The Godfather," we call them the Corleone Cats. Bernard is Bernardo;
Frank is Franco; Gordon is Gardino.
In fair weather the Corleone Cats spend hours lounging around neighborhood
swimming pools, and if they could talk, they likely would be ordering
drinks from the residents. As the saying goes, cats don't have owners;
they have staff.
We definitely have not been enjoying swimming-pool weather of late,
and nary a Corleone Cat has been seen pool-side. (Nary a human being,
We learned later that Frank and Gordon were purring safely in their
respective homes but still didn't know where Bernard was.
Daughter Jan (who's actually the owner of the Cross-Eyed Lion) kept
calling him. As the weather kept getting colder, she was reaching
the panic stage, agonizing about his whereabouts and fearing the worst.
I kept telling her to chill out (poor choice of words) and that he
was OK; he knew people. Cats are survivors, et cetera, et cetera.
What I didn't tell Jan was that I too was worried sick about Bernard.
He's a sweetie pie and, despite the unusual arrangement of his eyes,
quite beautiful. The SPCA admired him, too, and once featured his
photo in the fund-raising SPCA calendar.
Finally, we found out from a neighbor (Frank's owner) that Bernard
was warm and cozy inside the garage of another neighbor. His rescuer
apparently made him an offer he couldn't refuse -- food, water, a
comfy little bed and protection from the Deep Freeze.
He was living it up, and if the cold spell lasted much longer, I doubt
he would ever want to leave. But he will. After the ice melts and
we welcome a bit of global warming, Bernardo, Franco and Gardino will
find a pool to lounge around again. They need the rest, poor babies,
after all they've been through.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
14, 2018 column